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The United Federation of Planets
An irradiated mudball of no particular note, Earth stepped onto the galactic stage in 2063 AD when some Vulcans mistook a drunk idiot riding a missile for evidence of civilization. (The Vulcans have since tried their very best to quarantine this mistake.) Earth is currently at the heart of a galaxy-spanning republic, despite its economy having gone tits up and possessing the most shoddy technology this side of North Korea. Federation citizens are required to look and sound like Andy Hardy while evangelizing their idyllic (read: homogenized) way of life to other species.
- America Takes Over the World: Following TNG's "Hide and Q", where Data dismissed French as an archaic Earth language, and "Family," which features members of Picard's family, Chuck notes that 24th century Earth has been blighted by a France where everybody sounds English."
- In the future, there will be one race.... Or one culture, anyway. Chuck has taken TNG to task for its apparent belief that the ostensibly multicultural Federation thinks that Earth only follows Western conventions, namely weddings and family names.
- Note also the conspicuous absence of Russian scientific pioneers in any historical database ("Threshold", "Broken Bow" et al.)Janeway: Yeah, screw you, Yuri GAY-garin!
- Book Dumb: Notes that the state of the Federation's education system seems to descending into this, judging by Harry's complete lack of knowledge about any history whatsoever, as well as his comment that it's strange to not be part of narrative, suggesting that with holodecks having become increasingly popular post-TNG, no-one even bothers to read books anymore ("Future's End").
Prisoner 1: I think he's referring to the inherent instability of several elements of the field when you factor in gravitation in both macroscopic and microscopic variationsPrisoner 2: There is no instability, and if you say that again I'm gonna cut you like I cut that nun!
- It doesn't help that most of the Federation's brightest citizens are locked in prison, where they spend their days pumping iron and arguing about unified field theory. (Year of Hell)
- Bread and Circuses: When touting their successes, the Federation repeatedly mentions having stamped out disease, poverty, starvation and war... at the cost of most of their citizens having no sense of individuality and being conditioned to accept the same principles via group-think.
- Bystander Syndrome: The Prime Directive morphed from preventing imperialist practices to encouraging this.
- Crapsaccharine World: In keeping with Gene's intractable decree that "people don't grieve in the 24th century," Earth is a Marxist dystopia which seeks to eliminate human frailties by suppressing all human nature. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: "In the Cards", TNG: "The Neutral Zone", "The Bonding").
- Culture Police: The more time we spend with 24th century humans, the more apparent it becomes that everyone shares the same tastes, likes and dislikes, fashions, and hairstyles. A visit to 1996 Venice Beach, California nearly causes Janeway to swoon like a southern belle at all the scandalous diversity. ("Future's End")
- The Evils of Free Will: One unintended consequence of The Federation's utopia is that any non-conformity must be stamped out, causing the gist of Starfleet's problems noted below. Everyone in Starfleet, from top brass to the grunts, is a neurotic screw-up with no talent for their assigned vocations. If they aren't content with their lot, their Captains regularly respond with an eyeroll. ("Good Shepherd")"Where do you get off? Not liking the things that other people do? Not having the same passions and ambitions as others? (voice gets increasingly quieter and ominous) Everyone must conform to the standards, Harren. Do you hear me? This is Voyager. Your life as it has been is over. From this time forward, you will service...us."
- The Federation frequently watches for those threaten to rock the boat and even installs software in their starships that allow them to constantly monitor the crew's brains. Best shown in the For Want of a Nail alternate timeline of "Non Sequitur", when simply talking to a former Maquis member (Tom) and entering a valid access code to look up the crew of Voyager, is enough to get Harry stuck with an ankle-monitor, put on a no-fly list and informed he will be prosecuted if he tries to leave the planet.
- False Utopia/People's Republic of Tyranny: The Federation is a paradise, because they say it is. Most of it's citizens are perfectly happy to accept this as a universal truth and those who aren't, such as the Maquis, are treated with scorn, derision or labelled enemies of the state.
- Fantastic Racism: Despite the Federation's repeated claims that they respect and admire alien cultures, in practice, they actually come across as highly intolerant and judgmental, being dismissive towards any race or culture that does not agrees with their values or beliefs. Similarly, many in the Federation are shown to be openly dismissive of individuals who come from a mixed-raced backgrounds or humans raised in alien societies, essentially because they believe that "people should stay with their own kind".
- Future Imperfect: Most people in the Federation are shown to be incredibly Book Dumb when it comes to the past, routinely using the world "Ancient" to describe anything before the 21st Century, which as Chuck points out, puts chariots and nuclear weapons in the same time frame.
- Lost Common Knowledge: Most Federation citizens also are shown to be completely flummoxed by contemporary items, even when it makes absolutely no sense, due to the objects being no different than things they currently have and which are even called by the same names! ("The 37s")
- Gag Penis: At a First Contact party in "Homestead", Tom is shown arranging his food the shape of a penis, a tribute of respect to Zefram Cochran. Now you know how he got his name. And also why UPN can't show us his statue without being fined by the FCC.
- Get Back in the Closet: Upon hearing that hunting has gone out of style on Earth, Chuck concludes that the only explanation for the entire planet being so united in opinion is that at a world conference every Liberal idea was made law on the condition that they send all homosexuals back into the closet.note ("Rogue Planet")
- Hollywood Atheist: The Federation, for all its declarations of tolerance, apparently has this big time. From Picard stating that "Getting rid of their beliefs in the supernatural is a good thing" and that "Reintroducing such beliefs would undo hundreds of years of advancement," (Who Watches The Watchers) to Janeway's "The Reason You Suck" Speech on Tores' beliefs (Barge Of The Dead), belief in higher powers is not something that the ultra-left-leaning Federation wants.
- This attitude was what made Chuck have to stop the video for a few moments when he hears that Cassidy Yates wants to get married to Sisko with a Minister, implying the existence of ministers and organized religion in the Federation. (Penumbra)
- Humanity Is Insane: Why Vulcans, acting as a stern parent, grounded humans in hopes of containing their idiocy. ("Broken Bow", "Breaking the Ice")
- To put it in perspective, Vulcans admonish others to "objectify" alien cultures, not judging them by your own cultural standards. However, just being alone with humans is enough to drive T'Pol to homicidal misanthropy. ("Broken Bow", "Carpenter Street")
- It's All About Me: As pointed out in several episodes, Starfleet is perfectly willing to ignore the Prime Directive when it serves their interests: a strategic planet in "Errand of Mercy", Omega particles in "The Omega Directive", etc. Riker sums it up in "Justice".
- Moral Myopia:
- The Federation freely allows entire planets to perish in the name of the sacrosanct "Prime Directive." (TNG: "Pen Pals", ENT: "Dear Doctor").
- The moral of "Homestead" is:
- Moving the Goalposts: Each member of Chuck's "League of Starship Captains" holds up the Prime Directive as their highest moral principle as Starfleet officers... all except Archer, who boasts about murdering the Valakians, and giggles that Starfleet hastily re-wrote their charter just to justify what he did. ("Unimatrix Zero")
- Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Subverted. They sure love to claim they've done this, but their treatment of the Prime Directive (blind obedience to it, vaguely referring to a higher plan as justification for it, and even letting peoples die out in its name) is basically a religion in and of itself.
- Poe's Law: The best praise he could muster for Star Trek V is that William Shatner, Actor doesn't hold a candle to William Shatner, Wordsmith and Heir to... George Orwell?
- Rule Abiding Rebels: Many of Trek's end-of-episode aesops boil down to "stay with your own kind!" ("The Disease", "Ashes to Ashes", "Barge of the Dead"), "Beauty Equals Goodness!" (Insurrection), "The only good woman captain is a dead woman captain!" ("Turnabout Intruder", "Night Terrors", and given SF Debris' view on Janeway, possibly the entirety of Voyager), and, "People will only be worse off if you try to help them!" (too many to list)
- Kirk's era believed that the Prime Directive was meant to protect alien life and was prevent potential genocide, such as those caused by previous generations of incompetent Starfleet personnel ("Dear Doctor"). Unfortunately, by Picard's era, the view had shifted to sitting back and watching the death and destruction from a front row seat.
The leading armada of the Federation and butt of jokes everywhere. Boasts an uncanny knack for assigning people to places where they would be least useful. Your typical Federation "starship" is is kind of like an anti-Titanic in a way. People aboard the Titanic had the intoxicating feeling that the ship was unsinkable and nothing could stop it; the height of ego. Whats darkly humorous about Federation ships is that almost everyone aboard is aware that they're pretty damn sinkable: a barely-functional hodgepodge of antiquated equipment and used pinball machine parts.
- Big Brother Is Watching: In a departure from the usual criticisms of ENT's finale, Chuck finds it a little creepy that Starfleet records the private details of dead crewmembers for holodeck LARPs, even including Call of Duty-style gunfights for participants to play in.
- The real purpose behind Voyager's (otherwise inexplicable) brain interface with the crew. Janeway taunts that she even monitors them in the bathroom in "One."
- In the For Want of a Nail timeline of "Non Sequitur", simply entering a valid access code to look up a crew manifest and then talking to a former Maquis is enough for Starfleet security to slap an ankle-monitor on Harry, stick on a no-fly list and threaten to prosecute him if he tries to leave the planet.
- Boldly Coming: It's not tradition, it's policy! Although there is an explicit exception for Harry Kim, apparently.Captain Picard: Son, as a Starfleet officer, I'm afraid you have no choice but to take that beautiful alien aside, and bone her twelve-ways-from-Sunday. It's part of the duty when you put on that uniform—that you'd have to take it off again to satisfy the endless lust of four-breasted aliens. Make the Federation proud! Make me proud!Tom Paris: Aye, aye, sir, I won't let you down!Picard: Lieutenant? Make it so.
- The Chew Toy: In any fleet, in any era, in any series, the starship Saratoga is the designated bitch.
- The Dilbert Principle: By the time of Voyager, Starfleet seems to actively go out of its way to shun individuals who show genuine merit and exceptional ability in multiple fields, such as Tom Paris, who easily wins the award for being the most over-qualified man in the history of the Federation. Conversely, Neelix is made an ambassador, despite lacking entirely in qualifications, tact, or even tolerance of other cultures. He's a smuggler by trade, so his offers to procure supplies are naturally shot down. ("The Void")
"On a ship designed to explore the wonders of the universe, you have put Carl Sagan in charge of shoveling coal!"
- Mortimer Harrin in "Good Shepherd" is an (unintentional) demonstration of this practice, being a brilliant Astrophysicist who's been relegated to grunt work in Engineering, while a hapless Engineer has been stationed in Astrometrics:
Caption: I'm a Medicaltician!
- As an addendum to the above, not only does it take over seven years for Janeway to notice this clear blunder in staffing, but instead of the obvious solution of simply switching their jobs around, she believes what they need is a team-building exercise.
- In Generations, Riker — who has over 500 qualified pilots on hand to fly the ship — decides the best person to handle an ultra-risky saucer separation is...! Dr. Phil herself.
- Especially since he had previously performed the Saucer Separation in "Encounter At Farpoint", while "Chain of Command" had Geordi comment that Riker was one of the best pilots on the ship, meaning there was no reason he couldn't have taken the helm himself.
- As typical for Captain Janeway, she takes this one step further. Of the 10,000 tasks that Tom Paris performs with aplomb, she finally uncovers the one job he can't do with ease: Medicine. ("Parallax", "Message in a Bottle")
- And don't get us started on Starfleet poaching its very first Chief Engineer — the man responsible for the daily maintenance of reality-warping antimatter reactors — from a boat repair shop in the bayou. Evidently, the sales clerk at the local Best Buy was unavailable. ("These Are the Voyages...")
- Chuck once speculated that a computer glitch at Starfleet Command caused them to hand out promotions based on alphabetical order — thus explaining Archer's career. ("Minefield")"We'll have to ask Grand Marshal Abe Abramovich about that."
- Doom Magnet: This is the reason that the Borg are so reluctant to enter an alliance with Voyager in "Scorpion". They knew that if they work with Starfleet, they're eventually going to run afoul of some Negative Space Wedgie, which indeed came to pass in "Shattered".
- Dysfunction Junction: Perhaps the biggest threat to the Federation's continued survival are the dysfunctional crews themselves. Chuck's interpretation of all the Trek captains (and their respective series) is laid out in a nutshell in a "scene" from his "Call to Arms" review, where Sisko gathers the "League of Starship Captains" to offer advice on how to stop the Dominion. Kirk suggests giving a Kirk Summation followed by hitting them, Picard offers some technobabble solutions, Janeway suggests genocide, and Archer gibbers that the Vulcans are somehow to blame for everything.
Janeway: Mind bomb? That sounds cool! I'm changing my answer to his!
- Janeway then amends her suggestion to include a portion of Archer's nonsensical ramblings that she liked.
Sisko: We can't—
Janeway: That's two votes for "Mind Bomb," we win!
- Inverted in "In a Mirror, Darkly": Archer's in charge, with Kirk, Picard, and Sisko all sporting Beards of Evil. In this universe, Janeway (also bearded) is just a harmless flower child who serves pot brownies in the conference room.
- Jake Sisko and Chris Pine's Kirk get in on one of these in the review of "The Visitor". Pine's Kirk gets swiftly beaten up by Shatner's Kirk.
- Extreme Doormat: Starfleet's style of diplomacy is to pretty much just let the other side do whatever they want and forget about peace treaty violations and then act like they're morally superior for not trying to defend themselves.
- Fantastic Drug: Romulan Marijuana is very popular amongst Starfleet personnel.
- Fantastically Indifferent: Starfleet seems to hold the view that spatial anomalies are infinitely more interesting to sacrifice their ships to in the name of research, rather than the far more dangerous natural or artificial Lovecraftian horrors that exist in space, such as the Crystalline Entity, Doomsday Machine or Telepathic Pitcher Plant. Although their "scientific methods" with dealing with such creatures happen to be exactly the same.
- Five Rounds Rapid: By the Voyager era, the scientifically-minded, enlightened crew of Federation starships are trained to know that the only way to deal with any kind of spacial anomaly is to shoot at them ("Time and Again", "The Cloud", "Equinox").
- Gone Horribly Wrong: At the end of "First Flight", Chuck speculates based on Starfleet's utter lack of resources whether it actually started off as a PR stunt nobody really expected to succeed.
- Guns Are Worthless: The effects of getting hit by a Phaser across the franchise are so inconsistent that they often come across as utterly useless, leading Chuck to speculate that's why Klingons believe in using edged weapons in combat, because they are slightly more likely to kill people.
- In "Relativity", we learn that Starfleet in the 29th Century still haven't solved this problem, when Seven shoots Braxton centre-mass with a futuristic phaser and it barely slows him down.Chuck: Oh for god's sakes, even in the future of the future, the guns are shit! You just shot an old man with it and all that happened is that he has a bad case of gas! In fact, jumping through time is more damaging than their freaking weapons!
- While phasers get a lot more attention since they're so much more prominent, it's a matter of guns in general and not just energy weapons, since Terra Nova showed Reed getting shot with a machine gun and being only mildly inconvenienced.Chuck: On the way out, Reed gets shot, but since this is part of that Voyager/Enterprise era of Star Trek, you should know that guns, even machine guns, don't actually kill people unless they're bad.
- Star Trek: First Contact actually seems to prove that the less sophisticated a weapon is, the more likely it is to actually work. Chuck points out that in Q-pid, Data is only semi-resistant to a 15th century bow and arrow, but isn't the least bit fazed when Lilly hoses him down with what was most likely 9x19mm Parabellum submachine gun fire.
- In "Relativity", we learn that Starfleet in the 29th Century still haven't solved this problem, when Seven shoots Braxton centre-mass with a futuristic phaser and it barely slows him down.
- Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Starfleet in the 22nd Century sends vessels into the black without any mission parameters or basic protocols whatsoever, preferring to throw caution to the wind and let the captains just wing it. This leads the Enterprise (NX-01) crew to often act like a bunch of tourists crammed into a minibus. ("Fight or Flight", "Strange New World", "Civilization")
- Honour Before Reason: Starfleet in the 24th Century are fully prepared to let their own people suffer pointless deaths to uphold a peace treaty, despite it being obvious to everyone that the other side are flouting or outright breaking it's terms at every opportunity.
- Furthermore, part of their treaty with the Romulans forbids Starfleet and the Federation from pursuing cloaking devices, making them the only power in the Alpha Quadrant without the technology and leaving them at a major disadvantage during fights. It gets worse when you learn that Gene Roddenberry's original reason for Federation ships not using cloaks wasn't because of a treaty, but because "heroes don't sneak around."
- Incompetence, Inc.: Starfleet is a bureaucratic nightmare run by complete idiots (as shown by any given Enterprise episode).Reed: Look at this, I asked for plasma coils and they've sent a case of valve sealant."
SF Debris: You have only one ship to prep.... on its most important mission... and you can't even fill out a frickin' work order form without screwing it up!
Dukat: With security like this, I'm surprised the Defiant isn't in the hands of the Maquis!
- This has since spilled over into other Trek recaps. ("The Defiant")
(everyone falls silent)
Dukat: It is, isn't it.
- A scene from "The Haunting of Deck Twelve" manages to make this worse: At one point the Voyager computer warns that a console is about to overload, as they always do. Which means that Starfleet vessels have the capability to warn poor goldshirts they're about to have their desk explode in their face... but they just don't bother using it.
- Skewed Priorities: When prepping the NX-01 for launch, Starfleet didn't bother to provide the crew with any mission objectives ("Civilization"), first contact procedures ("Fight or Flight"), or even spare engine parts to prevent major breakdowns ("A Night In Sickbay"). They did however take the time to enter the DNA sequence of a catfish into the main ship's computer, because obviously, having the DNA of the chief engineer's favourite food on hand is vital for the success of the mission! ("Dead Stop").
- Informed Attribute: Starfleet does not believe itself to be a military organization, despite the fact that it runs on military rank and protocol and is the only defense and diplomatic organization the Federation has. This has led to high ranking officers like Picard and Riker dismissing things such as practicing tactics as worthless, often leading to them being unprepared for combat against stronger enemies.
- Insane Admiral / The Neidermeyer: Most of the higher-ups in Starfleet, although most of the Captains from each Trek series tend to fall into this category.
Chuck: Look TOS, you're supposed to be my respite from insane Starfleet captains...
- Leading to him to giving Crazy Kirk the award for "Most Annoying Character" for his feigned insanity in "The Enterprise Incident";
- However, Chuck still praises it because, unlike Janeway or Archer, the Enterprise crew actually calls out Crazy Kirk on his behavior.
- "Join the Army," They Said: In the more militaristic post-Wolf 359 Starfleet, the lower decks are filled with pissed off and disillusioned scientists who want nothing more than to study botany and comets, dammit! (First Contact)Worf: PREPARE FOR RAMMING SPEED!
Crewman: [Sobbing] I just wanted to be a botanist!!
*Cut to the comet from DS9s credit sequence*
- This would also explain the legendary ineptitude of goldshirts. ("Regeneration")"I'm here to measure soil toxicity and kick ass! AND I'M ALL OUTTA SAMPLES!!"
- Picard getting Kicked Upstairs to go comet-hunting in First Contact. In keeping with the theme of Starfleet volunteering its scientists to go fight Borg, the general feeling aboard the ship is euphoria.
Enrique Iglesias: I CAN BE YOUR HEEEEEROOOOOOOO... ♫'
- This would also explain the legendary ineptitude of goldshirts. ("Regeneration")
- Juggling Loaded Guns: In addition to their inability to hit anything smaller than a zeppelin, the chuckleheads in Security would sooner playfully point a gun muzzle at O'Brien's temple than act sensibly during a crisis. Relax, the safety's on! We think. (DS9: "Empok Nor")
- Hoshi's frequent inability to hit anything with a Phase Pistol is compounded by her reckless gun usage, ending her marksmanship lesson with Reed by pointing the pistol straight at his chest as she hands it to him. ("Sleeping Dogs").
- Lawful Stupid: In the event of a power shortage Voyager's policy is to shut down all non-essential systems. That includes Astrometrics, the room dedicated to finding minerals that can used to power the ship's systems. Making it worse, Janeway admitted she manufactured the blackouts to keep her "giant spider terrarium" from being shut down in "Demon"."If their bus ever broke down in the desert, Voyager's priority would be to take the batteries of out their SatPhone in order to power their electric blankets.
- Miles Gloriosus: Forget the Borg; Starfleet couldn't even repel Shia LaBeouf. (Generations)"Hell, put that way, Starfleet seems to have fallen about #97 on that list, long past UNIT, the Will Smith/Jeff Golblum team, Sinclair by himself, and hell, Mel Gibson with nothing more than boards, nails, and a baseball bat probably would do better repelling aliens."
- No OSHA Compliance: A staple of traditional Starfleet engineering, starting with "handrails" that can sever fingers on the NX-01 ("Unexpected") and continuing well into the 24th century, with Voyager possessing "manual overrides" that require power to operate ("Learning Curve"). And don't get us started on holodecks...
- In "Ethics", the pallets in the Enterprise cargo bay are not secured or tied together in any way, meaning that any hit from a torpedo or "asteroid bigger than your head" will cause them to rain on hapless goldshirts.
- Absolutely nothing on the Lemonprise-A is functional, from the Captain's spinning chair to the viewscreen, which is bad enough. However, we also see Kirk's handheld logbook short out; this random sampling of Starfleet craftsmanship must be built to fail if a tenth of the interface is dedicated to a giant Red Ring of Death, suggesting that by 2287 AD, the Federation can't build anything that works. (Star Trek V)"Spock was lucky one of those rocket boots didn't misfire and send him spiraling through the trees of Yosemite, its giant blinking warning light flashing the whole way."
- In the midst of a protracted shootout, Picard's phaser rifle snaps in two. He reads the inscription: (Nemesis)"'Made with pride on earth"? For goddsakes...!
- Perpetual Poverty: As a consequence of abandoning currency for a global economy based on "good vibes", Starfleet has never even heard of bartering, and is at a constant disadvantage when negotiating for supplies outside of Earth. ("A Night in Sickbay", "In the Cards")
- Ends up being a fairly plausible explanation for why the Enterprise is always "the only ship in range"... within the solar system. Remember, the Solar System- our own star system- is the capital of the Federation and has one of the most famous shipyards in the Federation located on Mars. In hindsight, the panic over mothballing Starfleet in VI doesn't seem so far-fetched. (TMP)Kirk: ...The only starship in interception range is the Enterprise.
Scotty: The only ship, sir?
Kirk: Well, as you know, Mr. Scott, after all the ships whose crews have been wiped out, been sucked into another universe, or just been eaten, Starfleet only has three ships left—one of which is trying to pull the other one out of the jaws of a giant space shark. Enterprise is our only hope!
- This is particularly true of Voyager, whose key systems are run by zip-lock bags containing "semen and wet bits" that are far inferior to computer chips ("Learning Curve"), corridors are replaced on a daily basis only to be destroyed again ("Fury"), and was mentioned as being one broken replicator away from cannibalism ("Cold Fire").
- Ends up being a fairly plausible explanation for why the Enterprise is always "the only ship in range"... within the solar system. Remember, the Solar System- our own star system- is the capital of the Federation and has one of the most famous shipyards in the Federation located on Mars. In hindsight, the panic over mothballing Starfleet in VI doesn't seem so far-fetched. (TMP)
- Too Dumb to Live: Trek's redshirts have the durability of wet kleenex, often spontaneously jumping into bottomless pits or dying off-screen for no explainable reason. ("What Are Little Girls Made Of?, "In the Flesh")
Nagilum: Now would be a good time to learn about death by killing one of you.
- Despite this, redshirts are usually just savvy enough to realize how screwed they are, as demonstrated by black, red-shirted helmsman Ensign Haskell:
Riker: Oh, no!
Picard: Oh, no!
Troi: Oh, no!
Data: Oh, no!
Haskell: MOTHER FUCKER!
Picard [checking his pulse]: He's alive. [beat] I'm as surprised as you are. I figured he be like a lightning rod for this kind of weirdness.
- In fact, the main cast spends much of "Skin of Evil" utterly gobsmaked that a different black, red-shirted pilot, Lt. Prieto, survives the episode despite being badly injured.
- Training from Hell: Bridge Officers have sticks of dynamite randomly stuffed into their consoles as part of an office lottery, to keep them on their toes. (Wrath of Khan)
- "That's why Captains don't have consoles."
- If "Bride of Chaotica" is any indication, each time the Captain hollers, "Reroute all power to the engines/shields!", the first system to go offline is connected to the Goldshirts' lavatory. Good luck keeping a straight face through a ST space battle ever again.
- Suicidal Pacifism: Starfleet in the 24th Century, who are more willing to surrender than fight back, consider military tactics to be "a minor province" of their job and promote appeasement and upholding treaties that don't work to preserve the peace.
- Reluctant Warrior: Even after Starfleet became more militaristic after Wolf-359 and the Dominion War, most of their officers still subscribe to the "Stop and kick my ass for a while" school of combat, letting the shields nearly drop, their engines go offline and let half their crew get horribly injured before fighting back.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: The implication is that Starfleet was a lot tougher back in the NCC-1701's day. By the time Star Trek V rolls around, Jim, Spock, Bones and Scotty are the only competent people left in the service.
- Hence Kirk's lukewarm impression of Picard: a foreign bald guy with weak hands.Kirk: Help you? Why don't you go back and make a nice, lacy card to thank Soran for the gentle anal sex he gave you? You look like a scrapbooker, am I right?
Picard: [Shrinking in his presence] Of... of course not!
- The retrofitted Enterprise undergoes VOY-standard 'Red Alert Lighting' during an encounter with an anomaly. Where the similarities end, though, is that Kirk immediately barks at the crew to turn illumination back on. (The Motion Picture)Chuck: Just one of many reasons why the man is composed of a special alloy of awesomonium.
- Hence Kirk's lukewarm impression of Picard: a foreign bald guy with weak hands.
- What a Piece of Junk: The Search For Spock would prove the high point of Starfleet's checkered military prowess. It seems that, in 200 years, Starfleet hasn't advanced much from the days when all of the NX-01's supplies were made from repurposed poop.Adm. Morrow: Think we'll still be using the Excelsior in eighty years? (chuckles) Dream on!
- Perhaps their greatest shame (that didn't involve Johnathan Archer) occurred in 1996 A.D when a yuppie with a word processor hacked into Voyager, stole 20 percents of their data, blocked their transporters and downloaded the Doctor into a Mac. ("Future's End")
- Willfully Weak: They have Romulan cloaking devices just collecting dust in storage closet ("The Enterprise Incident"), they use a phaser-proof material to build barrels ("Blaze of Glory"), and built a prototype gun and eyepiece that can see and shoot through walls ("Field of Fire"). Chuck wonders why Starfleet never took advantage of this and outfitted their troops with the most kickass body armour and weapons in the entire Alpha Quadrant, particularly during the Dominion War.Chuck: How the hell were they ever LOSING this war?
- Worst Aid: Starfleet Medical views severe burns as their lowest medical priority. They don't even bother to teach their medics when they should expect to treat burn victims. (The Way to Eden, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Hide and Q, Dear Doctor)
- In Star Trek V, Chuck added dryly that Federation citizens routinely practice euthanasia, even on their own relatives (Bones), and their socialized medicine means that woman give birth while squatting in a cave (Spock).
- By the 24th Century, the basic medical training of Starfleet officers extends to using the "Off-Button Hypospray" and "Medical Phaser" in every situation. If stasis equipment is available, rather than keeping the injured patient alive until they can receive treatment, it will instead be used to ensure that the corpse is kept fresh ("Innocence").
- 24th Century medical policy also says that anyone who receives a spinal injury during a shuttle crash should be carried outside the shuttle and dumped on the ground to maximize the chance of aggravating the injury but should be put down close enough so that they will still die if the damaged shuttle explodes ("Innocence").
The Borg Collective
- The All-Solving Hammer: The Borg Queen's knee-jerk response to any contingency is always the same: "Initiate self-destruct! Aieeee!" After the third time, our host has finally had enough:Chuck: Oh for God's sake—!? You have more at your disposal than BLOWING UP YOUR OWN SHIPS! If you cannot win a battle THIS one-sided, you deserve to have your head boxed up and filed under:
Do not open unless a paperweight is desperately needed
- General Failure: The VOY incarnation of the Queen is a generic villain on a viewscreen at best, and an imminent threat to her own troops at worst.
- Gone Horribly Right: Speculates that the ex-Drones actions in "Unity" was history repeating itself and that the Borg actually started the same way; a small, well-meaning group that created a Hive Mind to aid and enhance group cohesion, only to start forcibly inducting those who disagreed with them into their Collective for the greater good, before finally deciding this required assimilating all non-Borg to eliminate conflict.
- Harmless Villain: The entire Collective is no match for a single ship.... a ship which was once nearly obliterated by cheese.
- I Meant to Do That: The Queen is so proud, she denies the existence of any drones that escaped the Collective, such as Hugh, Locutus and the ex-Drones from "Unity" and "Survival Instinct". In her mind, Seven is "the only one" who has done so, claiming it's because she "let" her.
- Made of Explodium: "Endgame":"It seems you can take out the entire hub from inside just one tube with three torpedoes. I guess it's that flimsy; that this hub of thousands of tubes will collapse if you take out just one. You know, at least when Luke took out the Death Star, he hit the reactor. This is like suggesting that with two more torpedoes, he would've blown up the whole empire."
- Prison Rape: The Borg are so sex-deprived, their immediate goals always take a backseat to humping any non-Borg they come across. ("In the butt!")
- Punch-Clock Villain: The Borg collective themselves are often portrayed less like being a hive mind and more like being a mammoth collection of bored and apathetic office workers.
- Accordingly, Unimatrix-Zero is a glorified Facebook page.
- Salt the Earth: Queenie's "efficient solution" to root out rogue drones in the Collective, wherever they may hide: blow up her entire fleet! While not terribly efficient, Chuck does allow that this "is a solution." ("Unimatrix Zero")
- Stupid Evil: The Borg Queen's plans in Dark Frontier are reminiscent of Dr Evil. He then jokes that Seven would be more like Scott Evil, suggesting instead of highly convoluted plans involving probes that slowly assimilate humanity, they could just to they could just take 20 ships to Earth and assimilate the whole Quadrant while they're there?! ("Dark Frontier")Borg Queen: Seven, you just don't get it...
- Chuck even gets in on the act, pointing out the ridiculousness of destroying her own Borg Cubes to break Janeway, who opened "Dark Frontier" by declaring that she prefers her Borg drones served up "in pieces." He proposes that, instead, why not disconnect a couple of drones just long enough for them to plead for their lives, then execute them in front of Janeway? Then, just to pour salt in the wound, disconnect their executioner and threaten to kill him/her next, ad infinitum? ("Unimatrix Zero")
- Unishment: The Queen's sentence for an individualistic drone was to... remove him from the hive mind and render him an individual. A few scenes later, she generates holograms around a Borgified Janeway to make her resemble her old self again, because heaven forbid that our prisoner feel uncomfortable... during her interrogation. To top it all off, Queenie then threatens to continue picking off her own armada the longer Janeway refuses to talk. Hmm, that certainly is a dilemma. ("Unimatrix Zero")
- You Have Failed Me: Chuck's headcanon for the recasting of the Queen holds that a new one (Thompson) activated in the wake of crippling losses at the hands of Picard and Species 8472. This new Queen was programmed to be more aggressive, throwing more and bigger Borg cubes at problems, but this approach only ended up wiping out Borg forces even further. Queen 2.0 was scrapped once the Collective realized its mistake, reverting to the Old Queen whose "We are the Borg, now piss off and leave us alone" method of dealing with Voyager was seen as a major improvement.
The Mirror Universe
- Black-and-Grey Morality: In the Mirror Universe, the forces of evil are...well, evil; but so are the forces of good.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: To the point where Chuck wonders with all everyone plotting to kill off their superior officers, how does anyone live long enough to get anything done in the Terran Empire?
- Not So Different: With all the petty in-fighting, casual racism and idiotic decisions being thrown around, suggests that the crew of the NX-01 in the Mirror Universe are less evil and more just mild exaggerations of their normal counterparts.
- Stealth Parody: Particularly of how the crew were written by Berman and Braga during Season One.
- Stupid Good/Stupid Evil: Notes that this universe seems to run on the fact that both good and evil are incredibly dumb.
- Pragmatic Villainy: He points out that Mirror, Mirror gives an overall more sensible and believable depiction of the universe by depicting evil as being cunning and measured, rather than stupidly aggressive.
- Become a Real Boy: Speculates that self-awareness is not inevitable for all holograms left to their own devices. Holograms like the Doctor, the Hirogen holograms and Vic Fontaine were highly sophisticated programs that possessed a built-in capacity to evolve and expand within their own programming, which is how they gained sapience and true AI status.
- Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!: In Moriarty's case, he suggests that the Holodeck was still in the beta-test stage during the early seasons of TNG and that the process was either classified by Starfleet or had safeguards put in place to prevent this occurring again. ("Elementary Dear Data", "Ship in a Bottle")
- Just a Machine / Ridiculously Human Holograms: Dismisses the idea of baseline holograms being self-aware and the people of Fair Haven as "alive", pointing out that in all cases where this occurs, they are acting simply within the parameters that had been set ("Fair Haven"), or as the result of programming glitches that switched off the Perception Filters, allowing them access to immersion breaking information not normally available to them ("The Long Goodbye", "Spirit Folk").
- Fridge Horror: Points out that, if the implication is that baseline holograms are self-aware or have the potential to grow into self-awareness naturally, then the vast majority of the uses of holograms in the holodeck shown in Trek are incredibly unethical, as holoprograms regularly involve fighting holograms, scripting the deaths of holograms or killing holograms in simulated combat situations.
- Video Games: Chuck believes that the Holodeck is the ultimate, final version of video gaming- a totally immersive fantasy experience where you can do whatever you want. As such, comparisons to video games when talking about the Holodeck are common.
The Romulan Star Empire
- Gargle Blaster: Forget Romulan ale, Romulan marijuana is the only choice for those who wish to become truly intoxicated.
- Juggling Loaded Guns: Matter/antimatter reactions apparently not being dangerous enough for their sensibilities, Romulan warp drives are powered by a quantum singularity. (TNG: "Timescape")